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Posted By: David Winfred Gaddy on: 09/14/2005 10:26:37 EDT
Subject: RE: Welcome Chris Anders

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This is an interesting exchange you and Walt have had, and it changes my thinking (perhaps influenced by emergency reaction considerations in the Gulf states recently). I can't imagine Walt insisting on the use of horse-drawn 1860s ambulances to recover sun-struck (or stroke/heart attack) participants...notwithstanding the fact that that would be "authentic." (And the victim could authentically die because of lack of prompt medical treatment of the year 2005 variety.)
You also quite properly distinguish between different types of events (which serves as a needed reminder to this by-stander). I grant that it would be foolish in some instances (such as above) to ban modern, real-time commo capabilities, nor can I imagine an understanding audience expecting anything to the contrary. The strictly scripted and stage-managed analogy is appreciated.
My impression of what Walt is after (and he can certainly speak for himself) is to promote awareness of an aspect of Civil War reality that is poorly comprehended (if at all) by entirely too many people, top to bottom. Education, in this case, isn't directed just at the audience, but the participants--the staffs, generals, colonels and planners. (Yes, and the signalists, whose lack of understanding is betrayed in performance and attitude, and those of us with noses in books but interested in thoughtful discussion of how the problems of the 1860s re-appear.) Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry in Sep 1862 (IMHO) misused signals because of failure to understand their limitations--probably from lack of experience. He had to learn the hard way that visual signals weren't intended for the xmsn of lengthy battle orders--but Capt. Adams adapted and "got the msg thru," and in record time. (Which could have back-fired by educating the general that lengthy msgs COULD be handled.)
At the risk of stirring a hornet's nest, I must take issue with your statement about CW signalists never taking up weapons as infantry, for it did happen. The instances may have been rare, but quite real for the participants (who detested it but, again, adapted).
Thanks for entering the forum and sharing other considerations. We often find ourselves isolated and insulated--the smell of sweat snaps us back to reality!
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